Smiles reach across solitude

Dave Axon.
Dave Axon.
  • Most residents on the Costa del Sol are probably amazed at their ability to keep their spirits up even when they're not allowed to leave the house

Week three of the coronavirus lockdown is nearly over and most residents on the Costa del Sol are probably amazed at their ability to keep their spirits up even when they're not allowed to leave the house. Some are busier than ever and others have plenty of time on their hands, but most agree that a dose of laughter every day is the best medicine to help them through confinement.

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"I've just sown hundreds of vegetable seeds - just in case"

Dave Axon.Los Perros garden

Dave Axon who lives at and runs Los Perros sculpture garden near Comares has been keeping himself busy and Facebook followers entertained by posting photos of some of his sculptures wearing masks to protect them against coronavirus.

Some of his more unusual sculptures include a 3.5-metre-tall steel giraffe called Norah, two crocodiles and a Greek statue known as The Discus Thrower.

Dave is also keeping up with the extensive work to keep the many plants he has in the garden in top condition for when the lockdown ends and visitors can return.

He says, "I'm in the ideal lockdown place. I've just sown hundreds of vegetable seeds, just in case, and I'm now planting more grasses, to go with the 600 or so already in place.

Dave opens up his garden to groups by appointment only and asks for donations for the Axarquía Animal Rescue charity.

“We are juggling home schooling with work and other projects”

Darcy Tuscano.Travel Writer

Darcy Tuscano.

Darcy Tuscano.

Mum of 10-year-old twin boys, Darcy Tuscano, says that having been “thrown into home schooling” she and her family are keeping busy by juggling school time, work and other projects.

Darcy, who moved from New York with her wife and the boys in 2015, is a travel writer but explains that she is “trying to branch out into a new genre”, while her wife owns a consultancy business.

“Our lives are revolving around a lot of tech and media from hosting virtual play dates for the kids, to meeting friends for coffee and catching up online with family around the globe,” Darcy says. She adds that all the family does as much physical activity as possible “so we don’t all go stir crazy”.

Darcy and her wife are also on the board of directors of the Luena Foundation, a Spain-based organisation which helps children and those in need at times of crisis. They have been working with global suppliers to buy masks for health workers in Cadiz province.

“If you play with a problem you can turn it into an opportunity”

Norberto Rizzo.Actor, producer

Norberto Rizzo.

Norberto Rizzo.

Norberto Rizzo is a Malaga-based actor and producer who has worked on Spanish television as well as the stage. For him, keeping a sense of humour is vital during the lockdown.

“They say the human brain is wired to respond positively to laughter and smiles. It generates chemicals which help us to stay in a good mood and to avoid depression. Especially now, with the lockdown and the nasty weather, it is very important,” he says.

In fact Norberto adds that the lockdown hasn’t affected his mood.

“I know that when something negative happens, it is for a reason. Probably, it can help someone uncover the irony and absurdity of life and make them look for humour and find there a sort of shelter. I like British and black humour because, if you play with the problem, you will definitely manage to transform it into an opportunity for creative learning. I have taken the opportunity and am enjoying this lockdown time.”

“In Sweden we have learned how to keep ourselves entertained”

Sune Svensson.Pensioner

Sune Svensson.

Sune Svensson.

Swedish pensioner Sune Svensson says that the climate in his home country means that people stay at home most of the time, so this coronavirus confinement is not so tough.

“Darkness and very nasty weather can easily affect our well-being, so we have learned how to entertain ourselves. Humour and irony help a lot. We have plenty of TV shows, which are very popular. We don’t mind laughing at ourselves and our peculiarities.”

In this current situation of confinement, Sune says he is sharing the experience.

“Here I share the apartment and now we actually have to share all this time together with my Andalusian neighbours. It looks like I am following our proverb ‘Shared joy is twice the joy and shared grief is half the grief’. The grief is “shared” here through laughing. And I can assure, that the humour is not so different between us, people from different countries, and laughter brings us closer,” he says.

“In Ukraine we had totally empty cities after the Chernobyl disaster”

Alexey Leshchenko.Restaurateur

Alexey Leshchenko.

Alexey Leshchenko.

Alexey Leshchenko, who runs a restaurant in Torremolinos, says that the lockdown situation is not so shocking for him as he has experienced something similar in his life.

“In Ukraine we had totally empty cities after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. And empty shelves in the supermarkets with long queues were quite usual in the USSR after Perestroika,” he explains.

Alexey points to laughter as being essential in difficult situations. “My focus is on the positive. I think a kind of bond is created as soon as we start laughing with one another.”

He goes on to say that in his native Ukraine people can afford to laugh at themselves in comparison to their “quite serious” neighbouring countries. “Traditionally the city of Odessa, situated on the Black Sea, is famous for being the funniest place,” he says, proving that he and his compatriots are perfectly suited to keeping their spirits up in a lockdown situation.